YouTube pranksters condemned after 'bottling' woman in front of domestic violence victims for social experiment

Survivor of domestic abuse: 'He put vulnerable women in a position where they felt they had to save another woman and then get physical with a man at a domestic violence rally. It was disgusting.'

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The Independent Online

A social experiment in which a man ‘bottled’ a female attending a march to end violence against women has been condemned as “disgusting” by survivors and campaigners of domestic abuse.

The incident unfolded in London’s Trafalgar Square on Saturday, where many women’s rights campaigners had gathered after the 'Million Women Rise' march in support of ending all forms of violence against women and girls.

As campaigners were listening to speakers in the square, a man appeared proclaiming “power to the women, no more violence against women” and started tugging at a sign held by a woman.

An argument between the pair followed, with the woman hitting the man’s face and the man then appearing to smash a bottle over her head.

As she fell to the floor, campaigners gathered around the man to stop him from leaving as he announced: “It’s a joke, it’s fake, we’re making a movie, we’re making a porno”.

It later emerged that the entire altercation was staged by YouTube channel Trollstation using actors and a ‘sugar’ glass bottle.


But, women attending the march have questioned why such an incident was deemed appropriate to orchestrate at the rally or how it advances any understanding of the issues involved.

One domestic violence survivor who witnessed the incident told The Independent that the prank was “crossing a line” in its attempts to provoke women into using violence against the man.

“Here comes this guy bold as brass and it looks like he’s attacking a female in front of us and we have all got signs and banners saying ‘end violence against women’,” she said.

“Naturally women are going to be defensive physically if he was doing that to another woman. The reaction they wanted was violence from us.

“He put vulnerable women in a position where they felt they had to save another woman and then get physical with a man at a domestic violence rally. It was disgusting.

“It was taking the p*** out of women who have been physically, emotionally and mentally harmed by domestic abuse.”


Trollstation is known for its “bizarre and often surreal pranks performed on unwitting members of the public”, according to its YouTube page.

“Our content is intentionally provocative and controversial with the aim to get reactions from the general public in the name of comedic satire,” it says.

Amina Maz, the actress involved in the prank, said she supports what the women at the rally were marching for – as well as the aims of Trollstation in staging the prank.

She told The Independent: “Being a woman, I am obliged to consent to everything they stand for. There are millions of women being mistreated and killed around the world, deprived of rights and silenced. That fact is diabolical.

“What this organisation does is valuable. Trollstation, however controversial, goes beyond the social norms of society, we test the threshold of what is admissible. 

“It was a social experiment in a sense - in raw surroundings, unmanipulated - to see whether there would be a double standard shift with the violence being directed towards a man.

“We feel a responsibility to show people the true reality of life, human interaction without contrived variables which one would see on the tv screen.

“Sometimes you have to cross boundaries to get your voice heard.

“The shock to the women from the edible sugar glass bottle was temporary. They were not left alarmed or distressed and no crime was committed.”


Bex Mullins, a staff member at London-based domestic violence charity Advance, said she did not understand how the prank “helped anyone to develop a better understanding of abuse or the power and control men exert over women”.

“It was really shocking to see a woman being hit over the head by a man with a glass bottle,” she said.

“It turned an empowering space into an unsafe one.

“This happened in front of women who have survived abuse and who were protesting for women to be able to live violence-free lives.”

Sarah Green, a spokeswoman for the End Violence Against Women Coalition, described the incident as “totally revolting”.

“What was supposed to come out of that? There are really good political uses of street theatre, with a good idea and a good purpose, but that’s not it, she said.